Ariana's makes a strong case for best restaurant in Bend
I’ve lived a few blocks away from Ariana for years, but never gone in.  Something about it screams, “Don’t bring your buddies and ask our server to split the bill”.  So, I’ve been holding out for one of those special nights, i.e., when my parents are in town and offer to tackle the bill.  Surprisingly when I confessed this to co-owner, Ariana Fernandez, she wasn’t put off.

 “At first, we tried to be like, be everything for everyone,” said Fernandez. “Then we were just like, ‘You know what? If people have that preconception that we’re a special occasion place, then that’s fine. We’ll just do special occasions.'”

One look at the menu confirms – Ariana doesn’t serve-up cheap meals. But Fernandez says they don’t use cheap ingredients and well...you get what you pay for. Local ingredients are used when Central Oregon’s short growing season allows.

“Even if we can only get a little bit of something, we’ll just special-it that night,” said Fernandez. “We might only have five orders of it.”

Fernandez prides herself on specials that are really special -- not what’s starting to turn. The quaint restaurant has limited space, so keeping bulk ingredients just isn’t an option.

“We only have about two days of product at a time. We don’t have a walk-in or a freezer, so everything turns over really quick,” said Fernandez.

That means a constantly changing menu with a few staples like Fernandez’s father’s homemade tomato sauce.

“We have big seasonal changes where most of the menu will change,” said Fernandez. “But we can change it on a whim, when we have something that is really good even if it’s for a short time – we change the menu.”

Fernandez’s husband, Andres, does all the cooking and when I say all, I mean ALL. This is good for you because if you go there one week and absolutely love one of their dishes, it will be exactly the same the next time you go.

As I was asking Ariana and Andres if they’d caught on to the gluten-free craze, a woman walked in wanting a gluten-free meal.

Andres asked her a little about what she liked, then told her to take a seat and said it would be no problem.

“Most of our menu is already gluten-free, but if someone calls us one day ahead of time...We’ll figure out what to do for them,” said Fernandez.

Ariana’s reputation for being a special occasion hot-spot helps the restaurant because reservations take up their entire floor. You can drop in and find a spot at the bar any night, but the tables inside and outside, especially with Summer fast approaching, are almost all accounted for before they open their doors.

Despite most their clients coming in on date-nights – at the core, Ariana is a family restaurant. Ariana’s mother and father are co-owners with her and Andres and they all play their part.

“We have the end goal in mind, if someone needs help setting a table or clearing a table we’re going to jump in there and do it because it needs to be done,” said Fernandez. “It’s more important for the customer to be happy.”

One thing that’s definitely keeping customers happy is Ariana’s mother’s white cosmo cocktail. The drink has become so popular among the regulars, they’re making their own at home when the restaurant is closed.

“When I went over to the liquor store, (they have little bottles of St. Germaine -- which Susan uses in her white cosmo), he said, ‘I can’t believe how many people are coming over here, getting stuff to make your drink’,” said Susan Asti.

After you have a decadent drink and meal, the staff says the best way to end your night at Ariana is hands down with their Buttered Caramel Budino.

“It’s like the best pudding you’ve ever tried and it has a little caramel sauce and Sea Salt on top,” said Fernandez. “I don’t think anyone has ever said they don’t like it.”

The only problem is finishing it. One of the long-time servers, Stephanie O’Brien told me customers usually complain that they need a spatula to finish the huge dessert off.

“So...I offer them this,” said O’Brien holding a miniature green spatula.

What more could you want? Ariana has overly prepared servers, an up-scale family dinner feel and a full-bar.

For the perfect night out -- call ahead and enjoy a night full of ambiance at Ariana on Galveston Avenue.

Bend Oregon is known by many as a destination unlike any other. Central Oregon is a premier travel destination in the Pacific Northwest that boasts 300 days of sunshine annually and is full of natural scenery, outdoor activities, and a vibrant nightlife! Just to name some of the outdoor activities in this tourist hot spot you have hiking, biking, fishing, rock climbing, river rafting, skiing, golfing, backpacking, fly fishing, and so much more! Bend Oregon also has what the locals call the "Trifecta". The "Trifecta starts with a quick trip to Mt. Bachelor in the morning, followed by Golf in the afternoon, and finishing off your day fly fishing on the Deschutes River. With all this available to the locals, its easy to see why Bend and Central Oregon is one of the most desired places to live in the US. 

One of the benefits of living in a world class city is having excellent choices of first class cuisine. Bend has some of the finest restaurants per capita that you will find in the Northwest. Many of the area's best restaurants are locally owned and operated offering unique blends from around the world with a touch of the Northwest. If you look around on just about any given week of the year you will almost always find a wine tasting, live music, or outdoor event of some sort. Some highlights of the restaurant scene for 2011 were our award winners starting with Tart Bistro French Global Cuisine, Tetherow Golf Grill's breathtaking views with first class eats, The Victorian Cafe's World Class breakfast experience, Pilot Butte Drive In's myriad of gourmet burgers, Mother's Juice Cafe's Creatively Tasty & Healthy menu, Letzer's Deli NY Style meat packed sandwiches, TuckMo Subs fresh tasting sub sandwiches, and the absolute best frozen dessert anywhere in Cuppa Yo which is one of Bend's hottest new dessert places. These are just some highlights of the restaurant scene in Bend and we urge you to go hit the town and see for yourself! When you're done, please come back and let us know what you think by Voting for your favorites! 
Welcome to Best Restaurants in Bend Oregon by the People of Bend! The goal of our website is to help inform people about the Locals View of which restaurants they like the best and why! Currently listed are some of the Award Winning Restaurants in Bend from 2011. 

We have polls on the site for 2012 and they will run through July and the Winners will be announced in August! We will be adding new categories so look for those daily. You may only vote one time per category and if you would like to nominate a business that is not on the site then please let us via email and once enough requests come in we will add them to the poll. 

Please keep in mind that the restaurants of Bend Oregon work very hard to give top notch service, and provide the high standard of food quality you have come to expect. With that in mind please keep any criticism professional and cordial. This is meant for mature opinions that will help the businesses improve for the benefit of all of us! 
Tourists are also encouraged to vote and we would love to hear your feedback! Look for us on Facebook at the beginning of 2012 and we look forward to hearing your opinions! Thanks for your future Participation!